Destin On a Budget
SightsOnce a small fishing village, Destin has grown to become one of Florida's most-visited vacation hubs - a city of hotels, motels, and high-rise condominiums. The emerald waters and sugar-white sands attract beachgoers year after year. One of the main access points to its beautiful coastline is at Henderson Beach State Recreation Area. In addition to beach access, some perks here include bicycling, birding, fishing, hiking, picnicking, swimming, wildlife viewing and full camping facilities. Crystal Sands Beach is also popular with visitors.
Other attractions include the Deston Harbor and Boardwalk, Jetty East Beach, James Lee Park, Mid-Bay Bridge, and the Destin History and Fishing Museum.
NeighborhoodsDestin's HarborWalk Village is one of the main hubs for visitors. Located right along the harbor, the village provides tons of waterfront shopping, rentals from paddle board and kayak to pontoon and jet skis, parasailing, glass bottom boats, world class fishing, pirate ship excursions, dolphin cruises, concerts and live music, weekly fireworks, entertainment, and an array of restaurants to satisfy all tastes. When in doubt, HarborWalk Village is a great place to begin any adventure. Destin Commons is another popular place to find anything and everything you could want while on vacation. The outdoor center features more than 90 stores and restaurants offering the finest shopping, dining and entertainment, including plenty of retail and specialty shops as well as a movie theater. If you want to venture just outside of Destin, the Village of Baytowne Wharf also features an array of boutiques, eateries, galleries and nightlife, plus a full schedule of outdoor festivals and special events.
ActivitiesSome of the favorite activities in Destin are scuba and snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, tubing, water skiing, kayak rentals, deep-sea fishing, dolphin cruises, and golfing. There are plenty of rental options available for those who need equipment, as well as lessons for anything from scuba diving to building sand castles. The beach is the place to be during the day whether you plan on soaking up the sun, swimming in the glimmering waters, or seizing the day with watersports. By night, visit the harbor and boardwalk for plenty of live music and entertainment and a number of great dining options. For even more ideas, check out this guide to things to do in Destin, Florida.
Year-round the climate is ideal for golfing with opportunities including the award-winning Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, and the public Ft. Walton Beach Golf Club, Golf Garden of Destin, Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club, and the Seascape Resort & Conference Center.
Deep-sea fishing can be organized with companies like Adventure Charters and Pelican Adventures, while wildlife cruises can be scheduled with businesses like Dolphin Cruise at Harborwalk Marina and Moody's.
Food and DiningLike any popular vacation destination, Destin has plenty of dining options to satisfy all tastes and budgets. Both on and off the beach, there are a number of places serving anything from small bites to indulgent meals. Known for its fishing, Destin and all locations on the Emerald Coast will usually have great seafood restaurants to match. From rustic oyster bars and open-air cafes to candlelit restaurants, any eatery in Destin will offer a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood. Though the seafood is sure to please, you can also find familiar chain restaurants and other eateries serving just about anything you could crave - steak, sushi, wood-oven-fired pizzas, authentic Asian cuisine, or a hearty hamburger. Some of the top restaurants include Beach Walk at Henderson Park Inn (for a meal with a view!), Vintij Wine Boutique & Bistro, Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer, Louisiana Lagniappe, Buck's Smokehouse, and McGuire's Irish Pub. As mentioned earlier, most restaurants are located in shopping hubs like the HarborWalk Village, Destin Commons, and the Village of Baytowne Wharf.
TransportationThe closest public airport is Northwest Florida Regional Airport, also known as the Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport (car rentals are available from here). It is located near Destin and Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County, Florida. Other nearby airports include Pensacola International Airport which is about 1 hour 20 minutes from Destin, and Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport which is about 1 hour from Destin. Shuttles and taxis can be arranged to reach Destin from the airports.
By car, Destin is located on US 98 between Pensacola and Panama City.
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